The Launch Workshop organised for starting the NAIP funded Scheme on “Development of e-Courses for B.V.Sc. & A.H. Degree Programme” was started with an inaugural function, which commenced with the Invocation. Dr.Lalitha John, Dean, Madras Veterinary College welcomed the gathering.
Dr.N.T.Yaduraju, National Co-ordinator (Component - 1), NAIP briefed the theme of the Project. He expressed the concern of the NAIP that the quality of the students and graduates would necessarily depend on the quality of the learning materials to which they could access, especially in this current present day globalization scenario. The sort of competitive edge the student and graduate have is of atmost importance in order to have advantage at global level. He reiterated that NAIP functions in consortium mode to get the advantage of the every partner and to get the best out of them. Change in agricultural education, he proclaimed, is essential to meet the challenges in Indian agriculture. He further added that crop and livestock farming can be made more productive only through efficient teaching methods. Hence there is an urgent need to supplement and complement traditional method of teaching with modern method of teaching, wherein the students will have better access to the learning material quickly and effectively.
He also appreciated Dr.N.Balaraman, former Vice-Chancellor and Dr,P.Thangaraju Vice-Chancellor of TANUVAS for their proactive support for getting the project, besides commending the CPI Dr.M.Thirunavukkarasu for his prompt reply for the series of queries raised by NAIP. He emphasized that the same enthusiasm should be maintained through out the period of implementation of the project.
The purpose the launch workshop was, he added, to give a wide publicity about the project to NARS, which will make the people concerned aware of the project and make them interact with the Consortium PI to improve the quality of the outcome to the project. Another main purpose of the launch workshop was to frame up the action plan for the project atleast for the next six months. He also stressed the need for involving teachers from other universities so that the materials developed will be of national level quality.
Dr.P.Thangaraju, Vice-Chancellor, TANUVAS launched the Project and delivered special Address. He emphasized the need for developing quality learning materials through this Project which will be of use for the whole lot of veterinary institutions in the country. He also thanked the National Director, NAIP and National Co-ordinator (Component - 1), NAIP for identifying TANUVAS, an institute of excellence in veterinary and animal sciences in the country, for developing the e-Courses for BVSc & AH degree programme.
Dr.V.Thiagarajan, Controller of Examinations, TANUVAS, Dr.G.Thulasi, Director of Extension Education, TANUVAS, Dr.K.Viswanathan, Dean, Veterinary College & Research Institute, Namakkal and Dr.V.Ramaswamy, Dean, Faculty of Basic Sciences felicitated on the occasion. Dr.M.Thirunavukkarasu, the Principal Investigator of the Project proposed the vote of thanks. The inaugural function ended with the National Anthem.
The participants of the Launch Workshop included all the University Officers (Deans and Directors), Chairman and Members of e-Learning Apex Committee constituted by the University for the Project, Heads of Depts. of the two constituent veterinary colleges of the University - Madras Veterinary College, Chennai and Veterinary College & Research Institute, Namakkal, Members of Content Development Core Committee constituted by the University for the Project, Faculty members identified for content development for each course (79 nos.) and experts involved in e-learning/web development.
After the inaugural function, in the Session I, Dr.M.Thirunavukkarasu, the Consortium Principal Investigator of the Project made a detailed presentation of the approved project (including activities, terms and conditions under MOU, M&E plan, financial and procurement details).
Followed by this, one of the experts invited for the meeting - Dr.V.Balaji, Head, Knowledge Management and Sharing, ICRISAT, Pattancheru, Andhra Pradesh enlightened the gathering about e-Learning. He said that in India agricultural e-learning is not prevalent as much as in other developed countries. In that sense, the TANUVAS programme is unique and this needs more consensus among the participants. He also stressed that the investment in IT education and capacity building is more important in our country.
Dr.Mangala Sunder Krishnan, another expert from IIT Madras and Professor, Department of Chemistry declared that the components of today’s learning process are the teacher, the student and the computer technology. Traditional method of teaching will have, he expressed, to be supplemented and enriched from the mode of Guru-kul to University-kul. Among the components of learning, the central core is teacher. Thus the teachers have to be empowered or assisted by the technology experts by explaining various options of technology components. It is also important to identify the invariant core of the technology pillars, so that teachers are not over burdened with technology details. The best of the teacher should be brought out for a much larger population of students and open learners. Requirements for developing the courseware are curriculum, pedagogical design and sequentially modularized contents with a focus on concepts.
He empahsised that e-Learning is a process which must be in-built in the learning designs. He also detailed the steps to be followed in developing e-courseware, as:
a. Identify the curriculum
- Identify the presentation mode
- Identify the tools for content development (use commercial or open software tools which will not require users to acquire a special software at a cost and the output should be accessible through plug-in players which are free)
- Identify the methods i.e., sequencing the presentation
- Use a leaning management system, if necessary to organize the content